Consumers attending the 12th annual Salon du Bateau at Montreal's Place Bonaventure this past weekend arrived ready to buy, resulting in a 20 percent year-over-year sales increase for exhibitors and more than offsetting a drop in overall gate attendance.
“The atmosphere was vibrant,” says Yves Paquette, General Manager for show organizer Association Maritime du Quebec. “We are still confirming attendance but it looks to be in the range of 24,000, which would be approximately 14 percent lower than 2010 attendance. However, sales by exhibitors were up by more than 20 percent this year. There may have been fewer people in the building, but they were the right people, and they bought a lot of boats.”
The largest boat show in Quebec with nearly 250 exhibitors displaying more than 400 boats and a vast range of marine accessories and services, Salon du Bateau occupies three levels of its host venue, Place Bonaventure.
Paquette reports that sales of mid-sized fibreglass boats were particularly strong, as evidenced by receipts presented by consumers entering a promotional draw held for people who bought boats at the show. “Bayliner was back in the show for the first time in a few years, and they did very well, as did Crownline, Larson, Stingray and Doral. BRP also had a very strong show, as evidenced by the number of draw entries we saw.” Aluminum fishing boats and pontoons also enjoyed brisk sales, say Paquette. “Legend had a very good show.”
Like other winter boat shows, gate attendance for Salon du Bateau is subject to weather, and Paquette notes that an opening morning snow storm clearly impacted the total numbers. “Adding to that, the crowd cleared out in late afternoon to watch the NHL All Star game,” he says. “So while crowds were heavy for part of the opening day, it was not sustained through the entire day, and that is important.”